In previous articles we have already discussed the cancellation of a timeshare contract, also known as Multi-property. How they work, the possibility of recovering the money paid in duplicate, etc. In fact, our firm has helped several clients to get their money back on several occasions. In this week’s article we would like to analyse a recent Supreme Court ruling that we believe is particularly important, as it sets a relevant precedent when it comes to requesting the nullity of timeshares.
Timeshare contract: What exactly does it consist of?
Briefly, a timeshare contract is a kind of shared use contract in which, in exchange for an initial and maintenance fee, one obtains the right to use, for a period of time, an apartment or flat. This type of contract, which became popular in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, is very common in Spain’s seaside resorts.
Regulation in Spain: Law 42/1998 and Law 4/2012.
Timeshare contracts were first regulated in Spain under Law 42/1998. This law (which remained in force for 14 years) was abolished by Law 4/2012, which is the law that currently regulates this issue. Over these years, the Supreme Court has handed down numerous rulings on the cancellation of a timeshare contract (STS 774/2014, STS 673/2017, STS 175/2018, etc.). However, the vast majority of these rulings have been passed under the application of Law 42/1998. And as we will see below, Law 4/2012 introduced a small modification in its sole transitory provision, the consequences of which are very important.
Maximum duration of timeshare contracts.
Both Law 42/1998 and Law 4/2012 establish that the maximum duration of this type of contract is 50 years. However, when it comes to regulating what happens with timeshare complexes prior to 1998, there are slight differences. Under the umbrella of Law 42/1998, the Supreme Court has maintained that the maximum duration of pre-1998 complexes was also 50 years. However, Law 4/2012 contemplates the possibility that, by means of a deed of adaptation, timeshare complexes prior to 1998 may expressly opt to set an indefinite duration. All due to a small difference on the wording of the said laws.
The specific case: cancellation of a timeshare contract in Holiday Club Canarias Sales.
In 2014, when Law 4/2012 was already in force, two people signed a timeshare contract with a company for €53,880. The complex in question predated 1998, and in 2000, adapted to the new regulations by means of the corresponding deed of adaptation, setting an indefinite duration. In this tcase, the consumers filed a lawsuit requesting the radical nullity of the contract on the grounds that the duration could not exceed 50 years, according to the law.
The Court of First Instance, in accordance with the case law that the Supreme Court had delivered down until now, ruled in favour of the consumers. The same happened on appeal, before the Provincial Court of Las Palmas: since the duration was more than 50 years, the contract was null and void. However, in a judgement issued on June 28th 2023, the Supreme Court has specified that the case law dictated by them until now, had applied Law 42/1998. And that Law 4/2012 (which allows for an indefinite duration) should be applied to the present case, and to all those that refer to events occurring after 8 July 2012.
Although it is still early to draw conclusions, the recent STS 1048/2023 seems to have change the way of claiming the nullity of those rights prior to 1998, which were sold after 2012. If you have a time-share contract, also known as timeshare, do not hesitate to contact us. We will study your case and offer you expert legal advice so that you can get your money back.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys information relating to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
White & Baos.
Tel: +34 966 426 185
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